This comment by Mac Jones' teammate helps explain QB's early success


Mac Jones and the New England Patriots appear to be the perfect match.

The No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has been the league's best rookie quarterback by far through 11 weeks, benefiting from a strong running game, a solid offensive line and the expert tutelage of head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

But Jones isn't just a product of the Patriots' system. As team captain and special teams ace Matthew Slater observed, the 23-year-old's work ethic and ability to do what is asked of him are big reasons why he's thriving in New England.

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"This kid is very serious about what he's doing," Slater told ESPN's Mike Reiss of Jones. "He spends more time in this building than a lot of guys I can ever remember here."

"I can't believe how quickly he's developed, as far as his understanding of the things we're trying to do here -- and that's not just offensively. I'm talking about overall culture."

That's quite the endorsement from Slater, who is the Patriots' longest-tenured player (14th season) and has played with notoriously hard workers like Tom Brady and Julian Edelman. Jones came to New England as the expected backup to veteran Cam Newton, but it appears he's won over both his coaching staff and his teammates with how he goes about his business.

Jones' approach has translated to on-field results, too: He ranks 12th in the NFL with 2,540 passing yards, and his 70.2% completion rate (on pace for an NFL rookie record) is second behind only Kyler Murray.


The rookie still has a long way to go and faces a tough stretch of opponents in the Tennessee Titans this Sunday followed by the Buffalo Bills (twice) and Indianapolis Colts. Jones clearly has bought into the Patriots' system, though, and his teammates are taking notice.